Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 3
India is eyeing to launch the first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine by August 15, with the ICMR on Friday writing to the chiefs of clinical trial sites to expedite the enrolment of subjects and finish the process by July 7.
ICMR DG Balram Bhargava, in a letter to heads of hospitals where the vaccine—being developed jointly by Bharat Biotech and ICMR—is to be tested, said the first COVID-19 vaccine is envisaged to be launched by August 15 for which all approvals need to be fast-tracked.
“ICMR has partnered with Bharat Biotech International Limited to fast track clinical trials of the indigenous COVID 19 vaccine being called BBV152 COVID vaccine. This is the first indigenous vaccine of India and is a top priority project for the government being monitored at the highest level. It is envisaged to launch the vaccine for public use latest by August 15 after completing the clinical trials. Bharat Biotech is working expeditiously to meet the targets but the final outcome would depend on the cooperation of clinical trial sites,” Bhargava wrote in his letter to heads of King George College, Vishakapatnam, G Arjuna; Pt BD Sharma PGIMS University of Health Sciences, Rohtak, Rohtash Yadav and AIIMS New Delhi Director Randeep Guleria among others.
“You are advised to fast track all approvals needed for the initiation of clinical trials and ensure that subject enrolment is initiated not later than July 7,” ICMR letter says.
It also warns clinical trial sites against non-compliance saying that would be viewed strictly.
The first indigenous COVID-19 vaccine is being developed using a strain isolated at ICMR National Institute it Virology Pune.